HEINZ-CHRISTIAN STRACHE, the leader of Austria’s nationalist Freedom Party, fancies himself a rapper. For the past decade he has been recording amateurish music videos of rap songs like Österreich Zuerst (“Austria First”), which features the lyrics “For anyone who doesn’t want to integrate/ I have a destination/ go back home, have a good flight!” (It sounds no better in German.) No mainstream TV channel would show such videos, but when Mr Strache posts them on Facebook, the media report on them.
Europe’s populists were early adopters of social media. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders pioneered the use of outrageous tweets that infuriate his opponents and fire up his followers. (Unlike Donald Trump’s, they are sparse and calculated, not nocturnal and impulsive.) In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front co-ordinates hashtags, memes and animated videos across social-media platforms. In Germany, the demonstrations of the anti-Muslim PEGIDA movement began with the creation of a Facebook group. The far-right Alternative for Germany has more likes on Facebook than any other German party—over twice as many as the Christian Democrats of Angela Merkel, despite having less than half as much support in polls.